For this week EDTC 400 great edtech debate, we had debaters Ryan Schlosser and Kaytlyn Placatka. For the topic, Techonology is a force for equity in society, Ryan was on the “pro” side while Kaytlyn was on the “con” side. I really was not sure what to expect with this topic because it was a topic I did not really think about, and I didn’t really know how I felt about it. I was very interested in what was going to be said by the two debaters. Although I did not have much of an idea of this topic, I knew that technology introduced opportunity to people that needed help bettering themselves. In fact, I was thinking of man named Stephen Hawking who was actually mentioned by Ryan. With the information I knew with technology and equity, I voted for agree.
Wow… those pre-vote results are awfully close!! 58.8% of my classmates voted for disagree while the other 41.2% voted for agree. With such close results, I got hyped real quick for this debate to begin. I was also very excited to see where my mind would go afterwards considering I didn’t have much thought or opinion on this topic.
A G R E E S I D E
Ryan talks about how technology helps create fairness for people with impairment and disabilities, enhances education around the world, and gives young people a voice that deserves to be heard. Ryan states that there is over 1 billion people with disabilities and they have less of a chance of getting employed. But, with such things like technology, people with disabilities have a higher chance of getting employed since technology is giving these people more opportunities. Ryan mentions Stephen Hawking and the technology he used. Stephen used Speech Generating technology that allowed him to control a computer with his eyes which gave him the ability to talk!! HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!
One of the big discussion topics on this debate was the cost of technology and the lack of technology some schools have. This reading, Youth Learning, supports that cost will not be an issue. Dell Technologies wants to make sure that all schools have the technology they and their students deserve. Dell now has 18 labs where over 10,000 students now have access to technology. This is absolutely incredible and I think it is amazing that Dell is doing this for schools in need. This is fairness. This is equity. This is technology.
This article talks about how technology supports innovation and it also talks about the Youth Learning system that Dell is in charge of. The article talks about how originally Youth Learning started in India and is now currently involved with 15 other countries across the world. Deb Bauer, the director of Dell Giving says, “It’s our belief that access to technology brings young people into contact with the broader world, opening up access to education and vocational training in a very cost-effective way”. I think is it amazing that Dell is thinking of communities that do not have the funding to get the technology that they need. Dell is playing a great role in equity and technology is also playing a great role in technology by giving these students the access to education that they needed.
D I S A G R E E S I D E
Kaytlyn talks about how some students at different schools have disadvantages when it comes down to technology. A lot of the time, teachers will ask students to go on their cellphone and get them to go on a website. Or sometimes their will be assignments done online that students will have to continue to do at home on their computer. With this, educators need to think of students who do not have data on their phone or the fact that some students do not have a phone at all. There are some families that do not have the money to get a computer or internet at home so students are sometimes unable to do their homework at home. Kaytlyn mentioned that students can go to their public library and use the computers their. I know the library I have in my hometown does not have very reliable computers and they are very old. Therefore, they would not be much help either. Students with low income are the ones that face most of these disadvantages. With students and their families unable to afford technology, students cannot participate at home like everyone else can which creates a participation gap!
In Meghan Bogardus Cortez‘s article, states that there are five millions households that cannot afford technology. Imagine all of those students that cannot participate in school at home like all the other students. To close this participation gap there are companies like Google Fiber that are texting cheap, wireless, high speed internet. Also, Sprint’s 1million Project is planning to connect 200,000 high school each year for five years. They are going to pull this off by giving away mobile devices with limited LTE date service. It is actions like these that will end non-equity when it comes to technology. Until then, the affordability of technology is still a huge issue when it comes to equity.
Chris Berdik‘s article discusses how some students have disadvantages because they do not have enough money at home to have internet or a computer. This means that when some students go home, they can continue their learning but for other students… their learning stops at school. Students are going through unnecessary stress when it comes to finding a way to finish their online assignments at school and on time. Students will use their lunch hour to go to computer and work on their assignments. At a school there is a half hour after school hours where kids stay and learn what has been difficult for them to catch onto, this time is called “tutorial”. But students will go their just to get access to a computer so they have a bit more time to work on their assignment. It is not fair for students to get stressed about whether or not they may finish their assignment on time being of a technology barrier.
In Sara Bernard‘s article, she talks about how things have changed since the year 1995. Technology is s widespread and needed be everyone and increased in technological innovation. With Technology becoming the “it thing”, there is a bigger demand to have technology at schools, communities, households, etc. Sara makes an interesting point by discussing how most kids have cellphones and perhaps that is the only source of information in their lives. Unfortunately a lot of schools have a no phone policy, in which the student’s only source of technological learning is getting taken away from them.
C O N C L U S I O N
The post-vote results changed majorly. For the disagree side we have 77.8% and 22.2% for the agree side. There is a bigger difference between the two then there are now. I was one of the students that changed sides and voted for disagree. I think this topic is a very tricky topic and I think I am not the only one that can say I am glad I did not have to be one of the debaters in this. Kaytlyn and Ryan, you two did an amazing job! Although I voted for disagree at the end, after doing further research I see myself veering towards agree again. Although cost is a very huge reason in technology forcing inequity, there are also companies that are helping provide technology for the communities and people that cannot afford it. This is a great way to ensure that one day the world will be known for its participation in equity!
Until next time,